Combining the rosters of New York City sports teams would create powerhouses

It’s happened before in times of crisis, you know.

It’s not unprecedented.

When war raged worldwide in 1943, not a few professional sports teams were hanging by a thread. Two of these teams were the representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Eagles of Philadelphia and the Steelers of Pittsburgh. In order to survive, a plan was hatched: merge.

And so the Steagles were born.

It only lasted a year, but it was a great experiment. The Steagles won their first two home games at Philly’s Shibe Park (including a 28-14 win over the Giants). They won and drew their next two home games at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. They lost the season finale in Philly to the Packers, which cost them a playoff berth.

“These guys were used to hating each other,” future Giants coach Allie Sherman, a backup quarterback on the team, once told me. “And yet we had the time of our lives all 10 games.”

The Eagles had never set their own record before. The Steelers only had one. The Steagles would no longer be needed by the time the ’44 season rolled around, as the nation’s economic picture began to brighten. It stands as a cool year-long experiment.

Well, we are not in such a crisis in New York. And you see, even if we wanted to do something bold like combine all of our sports teams into a single entity, that wouldn’t even get out of the head of whoever dreamed up this crazy scheme (guilt!).

Francisco Lindor and Aaron Judge
Jason scenes

Nevertheless, we will be without a title in almost 11 years and are one of the four major professional sports. This feels like an ongoing crisis. And just think: would any baseball fan anywhere in New York have been unhappy with the following lineup in the 2022 season – especially in October?

1B: Anthony Rizzo

2 B: Jeff McNeil

SS: Francisco Lindor

3B: Matt Carpenter

LF: Brandon Nimmo

CF: Aaron Richter

HR: StarMarte

C: Jose Trevino

DH: Peter Alonso

SP: Jacob de Grom

SP: Gerrit Kohl

SP: Max Scherzer

SP: Nestor Cortes

CL: Edwin Diaz

Jalen Brunson

The metkees aren’t that bad, are they? How about a football mashup – let’s call them the Jints – where we just take the Giants’ offense and add the Jets’ wide receivers, and a defensive matchup that would be a star-studded lineup from both sides – Dexter Lawrence, the Williams brothers, Leonard Williams, Xavier McKinney, Sauce Gardner and the others?

How about this for an impressive starting lineup for the Knicknets?

PG: Jalen Brunson

SG: Royce O’Neale

C: Mitchell Robinson

SF: Kevin Durant

PF: Julius Randle

With a whole load of firepower – Kyrie Irving, RJ Barrett, Seth Curry, Yuta Watanabe – off the bench?

Kevin Durant
USA TODAY sports

Of course, the most intriguing thing would be if we could lump all of the Rangers, Devils, and Islanders together – as all three have seasons ranging from good to very good to epic – and maybe come up with a top. six that look something like this:

C: Mat Barzal

W: Jesper Brat

W: Artemi Panarin

D: Adam Fox

D: Dougie Hamilton

G: Let’s give 27 games each to Igor Shesterkin, Ilya Sorokin and Vitek Vanecek.

Igor Shesterkin
Igor Shesterkin
Getty Images

The biggest challenge would be figuring out what to call these guys. The Devislers? The Randevisles? The Islergils? Maybe we could get really bold and tinny and just call them the Stanelycups.

Sure, this is part fever dream and part hallucinogenic attack. But it’s better to watch season after season with someone else’s downtown parade, right?

Vac’s Whacks

Not only were the Devils a remarkable story on the ice, but they helped inspire one of the crowd’s never-ending cheers as “Sorry, Lindy!” walked through the Prudential Center not long ago.

One of the things about binge-watching a show that’s still on the air — and I flashed four years of “Yellowstone” and 10 episodes of “1883” this summer — is that waiting between episodes feels like you’re catching up a month, not a week.

mike white
Bill Kostron

Well, a loud segment of Jets fans has been pining for Mike White for over a year. It’ll be interesting to see how they feel at 4 o’clock or so.

St. John’s-Syracuse was a thorn in the side of a basketball game at Barclays the other night, but boy was it fun to see these two teams back on the court at the same time.

Hit back on Vac

Richard Kelly: Seems everyone is glossing over the two silly moves that will likely cost the Giants the playoffs: Xavier McKinney makes a trip to Cabo and falls off an ATV, and Brian Daboll has his best cornerback, Adoree’ Jackson, return punts. I hope I’m wrong about that.

Vacuum: If we look back at someone playing the first weekend of the playoffs this year, those two moves will pound like unrelenting toothache.

Vito Pesce: I just don’t see the allure of Jacob DeGrom for crazy money. The guy is lucky if he gives you 20 starts a year and it gets worse at 34.

Vacuum: I think the Mets are willing to pay big to keep him. I don’t think they will empty the vault when necessary.

RJ Barrett
RJ Barrett
Robert Sabo

@Knishboy: If RJ Barrett, a fourth-year Knicks starter, isn’t a good shot of 3 or layups or the standard eye test…then why is he shooting nearly 20 times a game?

@ Mike Vacc: Donovan Mitchell is shooting 50.1 percent this year, 42.5 percent from 3. That seems particularly relevant.

Jack Aquarius: What was Robert Saleh thinking as he let in a shocked Zach Wilson midway through the third quarter? He was visibly scared the whole time. The loss was due to the coach and only secondarily to the hapless offensive and special team coaching.

Vacuum: I’m not sure a quarterback would have been successful with the game plan that Mike LaFleur came up with. He has to be a lot better this week.